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There is still plenty of summer left for getting out on the water and playing, so if you’ve been on the fence about buying a new PWC, there is no time like the present to get to your local dealer and hit the water. But which one to get? That is a question that many ask themselves. Here are five of the best PWC of 2018 that we can suggest, based on personal use, talking to dealerships and other riders out there. You may choose another machine, which is just fine, too, as there are really no bad modern PWC, but you should consider these machines when you start looking.
Yamaha WaveRunner VX Cruiser
With an MSRP of $10,699, the VX is a moderately priced machine that is one of the strongest selling PWC on the market today. Powered by Yamaha’s potent 1,049cc three-cylinder, four-stroke TR-1 high-output marine engine, the VX will scoot along, reaching speeds up around 54 mph. It has Yamaha’s RiDE, a two-throttle setup that aids low-speed handling, rapid deceleration and reverse. Make sure you read our review of this machine for the full scoop. The VX Cruiser is a great looking machine with a moderate price and superb handling and comfort. While at my local dealer recently, I saw the last two she had in stock go out the door. “I pretty much sell every WaveRunner VX I get in, every year,” she said.
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310R
The other day, I saw a video floating around YouTube of a guy riding an older PWC that was really scooting across the water. He stopped and bragged about how he wedged in a motor out of a street bike and the thing produced “over 225 horsepower.” That might be something if not for a machine like the Kawasaki Ultra 310R that produces a thunderous 310 horsepower from the 1,498cc turbo-charged four-cylinder engine. The 310R is aimed at those of us who race, or want to feel like we are. It is a no-nonsense machine with stripped down controls inspired by motocross bikes. The seating area is narrower to allow you to grip the machine with your legs and the seat material helps keep you planted. It all works in unison to create a machine designed to be ridden aggressively. It’s not cheap at $16,299, but makes our list of the best PWC of 2018 because we like to go fast and the 310R is FAST. Read our review here.
The Sea-Doo GTS is a mix of upscale Sea-Doo design and materials from the Spark that gives us a machine that looks really good, is lightweight and is extremely affordable. With an MSRP of just $7,699 the GTS is a little costlier than the Spark, but is packs in some added value that is pretty cool. The hull is made from Sea-Doo’s PolyTec material, a polypropylene material that is cheaper to produce than fiberglass and lighter in weight. The light weight of the GTS is important, as the motor is the 900cc ACE triple four-stroke motor that BRP is using across its lineup. The ACE produces a usable 90 horsepower, which is low compared to other PWCs, but it works in the GTS due to the lighter weight. Plus, being a mass-produced engine, it helps keep the costs down. What gets the GTS on this list of the best PWC of 2018 is comfort, as this is a decent handling machine at a great price and it makes for a comfortable cruiser. Read our full review here.
Yamaha FX Limited SVHO
I could go on and on about this one. Being Yamaha’s flagship WaveRunner, the FX Limited SVHO is LOADED, and I do mean loaded. Powered by a massive 1,812cc supercharged four-cylinder engine, the FX SVHO is a screamer, hitting the 0-30MPH mark in about a second and a half. Read our review to see why we love the Yamaha. What struck me about this machine came from the same dealer I mentioned earlier. She told me that when the shipments of this machine came in, there were already people calling in to get them. In fact, she said her last four sold within the week she got them and while they were setting them up for the buyer, two other customers started offering her more money, getting as high as $3,000 each over the $16,899 MSRP. That kind of interest doesn’t happen to a machine that isn’t worthy of being on this list.
Kawasaki Jet Ski STX-15F
There is the old adage of, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Kawasaki Jet Ski STX-15F fits that saying well by being very similar to the same machine it has been for years. It’s not the fanciest PWC on the market, nor is it the plushest in the price-point, but the STX-15F has something going for it that cannot be denied at its price point – power. Powered by a naturally aspirated 1,498cc inline four-cylinder four-stroke marine engine, the Kawi can move. It has a composite hull that keeps the weight down and the machine is pretty low on features, but for $9,699, I don’t think anyone cares. Kawasaki still sells a ton of them. That combination of power and price makes the STX-15F one of the best PWC of 2018. Read our full review here.
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